A retreat designed by Hanrahan Meyers Architects reinforces the Buddhist mantras of simplicity and nature in upstate New York at this beautiful, simple and green meditation center.
Located in the Hudson River Valley, New York, the 22,000 sf project was under construction when Chung Ohun Lee, of the organization's leaders, attended the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. She was so inspired by Obama's speech—in which he vowed to cut emissions by 8% over 40 years—that she asked the architects to switch from conventional building systems already ordered to such energy savers as geothermal heating and solar hot water.
While many of the building systems were changed after Lee's trip, the architecture itself needed few adjustments- wood framing (dimensional lumber and glulam beams) was used rather than steel, and interiors used locally harvested oak for flooring with furniture made of FSC-certified, formaldehyde-free apple plywood. LEED certification would have added $50,000 to the cost, so the client instead opted to spend the funds on green features. It helps, Hanrahan says, that "reducing their carbon footprint is part of their philosophy."
But the real lesson is that even the most advanced systems require the client's participation to achieve significant energy savings...